If you've been on the internet at all this week, then you know Stranger Things is finally back on Netflix for its second season, and, let me be (one of) the first to say: This season is filled with exactly the type of mind-blowing thrills we'd expect from the crew in Hawkins. Warning: This post contains spoilers from Stranger Things Season 2. Of course, this is Stranger Things we're dealing with, so there is a lot of excitement and suspense going on at any given time, but there are also a few emotional moments that really put us in our feelings; the scene where Eleven finds out her real name is Jane is one of those moments, and it's almost as sad as the scene where Mews gets devoured by Dart.
For all of Season 1 and the early half of Season 2, we knew "011" as Eleven, or El. If you're anything like me, you probably assumed El had no (or limited) history prior to her captivity at Hawkins National Laboratory — that she was born there and, therefore, had no name; her backstory in Season 2 proves otherwise, though. Indeed, El's tortured history at Hawkins is shown in Season 1, and her life prior to Hawkins is teased in the early episodes of Season 2, but in Episode 4 of Season 2, titled "Will the Wise," we learn the truth behind how she ended up in Papa's hands, and that her real name is Jane.
After having a blowout fight with Hopper, El is left to clean up the cabin if she wants to regain TV and Eggo privileges, which we all know she does. While she's cleaning, she discovers a loose floorboard, which she lifts up to reveal a storage area filled with boxes from Hopper's past. El pulls out one of the boxes labelled "Hawkins Lab" and, low and behold, it's got a whole bunch of newspaper clippings and old crap with details about her mother and her past at Hawkins in it, including her real name: Jane.
That's not all, though. After finding a picture of Dr. Brenner, aka "Papa," next to her mother, El blindfolds herself and steps into a state of sensory deprivation where she can actually see her mother in her current state. Of course, this is sad moment for Jane because her mother is completely out of it, and when she touches her mother, she disappears, leaving El screaming and in tears while all of us watch on, devastated.
I guess the show's creator, Matt Duffer, wasn't kidding when he said Season 2 would be "a little darker, and a little weirder" in an interview with ING last August.
As heartbreaking as El's visit with her "Mama" is, though, El learning her history sets the rest of the season in motion. Indeed, once El/Jane learns about her mother, she sets out to find her (even though Hopper has asked her numerous times not to leave the dirty woods cabin). When she finally finds her, El learns about her "lost sister" — Kali, or "008" — another girl who was used for testing at Hawkins Lab.
While Kali might seem insignificant at first, she is ultimately the one who teaches El how to harness her telekinetic gifts, which helps her close the gate to the Upside Down and put an end to the chaos (for now) in the climactic finale episode. In other words, if El hadn't gone snooping in Hopper's "Hawkins Lab" box, then she may have never met Kali or learned how to control her powers and close off the Upside Down.
This is Stranger Things, though, and as the final moments of Season 2 show, the Upside Down is never closed off for good. I guess we'll just have to wait and see what happens in Season 3. In the meantime, enjoy your binge-watching, friends.
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